How Does a Homeless Shelter Work?

by Lynda Moultry Belcher
Homeless shelter workers often help with food pantries and meals.

Services

A shelter sets up an umbrella of services for clients. Because the needs of clients are so varied, a homeless shelter must do more than serve hot meals and offer people a place to sleep. It should also offer a range of social services aimed at getting homeless patrons a more permanent living situation, employment assistance, trauma counseling, drug/alcohol rehabilitation and just about anything else that falls under the social services category. The idea is to offer those that would like it access to a way out of being homeless, and for those that are not yet ready to take that step, a warm, safe place to sleep, eat and commune with others.

Partners

A homeless shelter should find ways to reach out to the homeless population in any given city. Because homelessness is never just concentrated in any one area of a community, a shelter works closely with social service agencies to identify people in need of help. From local hospitals, which give homeless patients a ride to the shelter to social workers that offer the shelter as an option for clients, sleeping on park benches, a homeless shelter employs a battery of volunteers and trained professionals to reach out to homeless people in the community, no matter their location.

Charitable Contributions

Charitable contributions, fund raising and grant opportunities are what keep most homeless shelters afloat. While city governments run many shelters as a part of the social services agency, there is never enough in the way of resources to cover the needs of homeless citizens. Therefore, many shelters participate in community events to raise money for additional resources to effectively serve the homeless population in the best way possible.

About the Author

Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.

Photo Credits

  • Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images